Did you feel that? I did, too.
On 6th December 2018, the digital world witnessed a major event. The latest WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” is here! And it’s going to change the way that websites are built.
You may have ignored all the other minor updates this year but it’s going to be tough to ignore this one. If you are a WordPress user, then you definitely need to be aware of the new editor.
It’s notably a big thing for all the owners of self-hosted sites, developers and web design and development companies. So if you are one, pay attention.
The latest update has a lot of major changes. So buckle up and get ready to read about some amazing, new features.
What’s new in WordPress 5.0?
If you want the shorter version of it: a lot.
For the longer version, there are some major points that are more important than others. Firstly, WordPress has discarded the Classic version of the Editor and has integrated the Gutenberg Editor.
For those of you who hate changes, the Classic Editor is still available in the older versions of WordPress. The changes are only being updated in the new installations.
Also, you can use the Classic Editor as a plugin in WordPress 5.0 until 2021. By adding the plugin to your website, it can be used alongside the Gutenberg Editor. However, we recommend shifting to the new editor soon so that it is easy for you in the later stages.
Apart from the editor, the second major change that you’ll get is a new theme called Twenty Nineteen. This theme will be the default in all the fresh WordPress 5.0 downloads
Now, if you’re anything like me, you probably have a burning question in your mind…
So, what is the Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the new editor in the latest version of WordPress. What’s so unique about it is that it works on blocks. Predictably, it’s going to completely revamp the way that users and developers use the CMS.
Although there are several new changes in the latest release, none of those are really as important as the editor. Named after Johannes Gutenberg, the creator of the movable-type printing press, the Gutenberg WordPress Editor is the showstopper now.
It is an attempt to give a push to WordPress as a CMS in the website building space. You may think that it isn’t going to change much but wait before jumping to conclusions in haste.
The editor seeks to make it easy for anyone to create great and flexible content layouts on their websites. It does so by using a block-based UI.
All the different types of content components are available as blocks. These modular blocks can be added, edited and moved anywhere on the page. This multiplies the flexibility and ease of access several times over.
Oh, and did I tell you that you could try your hand at the Gutenberg Editor without downloading the update?
Here’s what it looks like:
You could read the Gutenberg Handbook if you want to learn Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0
Fair warning: At the risk of sounding like a Grinch, I believe it right to warn you that the update is still in the initial stages. It may even contain bugs and other issues. It is recommended that you test the update thoroughly before hitting that update button. This is an update where you want to look before leaping.
Why did WordPress revamp its editor?
In simple words, to survive.
WordPress is one of the giants in the web hosting world, powering about 32% of all the websites in the world. However, looking at their growth rate, it’s only 17.2%. That may sound a lot but it’s next to nothing in comparison to the growth rates of Squarespace [180%] and Wix [233%].
Why are these new web development platforms making such huge leaps in the market? Because they’re user-friendly.
Technology is advancing at a high speed in order to make it easy for the end-user. Hence, to compete with these new, upcoming platforms, WordPress had to make their own platform more accessible for their users.
How do I update to WordPress 5.0?
You need to remember that this is no run-of-the-mill update. Before taking the next step, you have to test the new install. You can’t test it on your website either.
Here is the process you should follow for upgrading your website to the new version of WordPress:
1. Build a staging environment
It is highly recommended that you launch it on a staging environment before going live with it. You could build a test site or utilize your host’s staging environment for the same. This way, if there are any errors or difficulties, it won’t harm your live site.
2. Take a backup of your site
If you are not able to test it on a staging environment, then you ought to compulsorily take a backup of your WordPress site. A downloadable backup of your entire site is the best option to go for since WordPress 5.0 is such a huge change.
3. Updating to WordPress 5.0
Depending on your hosting provider, it is possible that your website has already been updated to the new version automatically. If it is a custom-built website, then you will have to manually update it.
You can find the option to Update in your admin dashboard. Simply clicking on the Update Now button will start the update on your website.
While being updated, the site will go in “maintenance mode”. It’ll go back to normal once the update process is complete.
4. Check WordPress 5.0 Themes and Plugins
As a part of your testing, you need to make sure that all the third party themes and plugins work with Gutenberg. Some plugins have prepared for this update in advance, one of the best examples being Yoast SEO.
However, there are many that haven’t yet bothered to upgrade their software. So do check if the plugins and themes on your website are compatible with Gutenberg.
Summing it up, all I have to say is that WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg is the biggest thing to happen in WordPress in a long time. It affects everyone, from users to developers. Be it writing content or developing code plugins and themes, it will bring a wave of change in the way websites have been built till now.
Time will tell us how successful the Gutenberg project is. As a repeat warning, we strongly recommend testing the update on a test site or staging environment before launching it on your live site.
What are your thoughts about WordPress 5.0? Tell us in the comments; we’d love to know about it!